Access constantly monitors the ESG performance of its portfolio companies/asset and asks each lead investor to answer specific extra financial questions for each portfolio asset. An annual ESG questionnaire is made available through Access’ dedicated ESG web-based platform. ESG issues are then specifically itemized for discussion.
The ESG questionnaire includes a common core of general and a company-specific set of questions depending on the sector in which the asset operates. Questions are linked to climate change, resource efficiency, environmental pollution, health and safety, human capital management, stakeholder engagement, corporate governance, business ethics, data security and responsible sourcing.
At Fund of funds level:
Underlying fund ESG monitoring: An annual ESG questionnaire for reporting on specific extra financial data for each portfolio asset is sent to each lead investor / portfolio company. The objective is to monitor the ESG improvement on a yearly basis against potential identified risks. By being systematically represented at the advisory committees of the underlying funds, Access has the opportunity to ask questions on how the fund managers have integrated ESG issues into their investment decisions, ensure an adequate governance structure is in place, and encourage the fund managers to report on the application of their own ESG policies. Whenever necessary, Access seeks more information from the GP: investment memo, environmental and social / organisational audits of the company, adherence to code of business principles. Further, an annual ESG questionnaire for reporting on specific extra financial data for each portfolio company is sent to each underlying fund manager. The objective is to assess the level of integration of the ESG criteria within the portfolio companies, and monitor the improvement from underlying companies on a yearly basis.
At direct and co-investment level:
During the holding period of the assets / companies, Access ensures compliance by the company with laws, national and international standards and applicable ESG charter. Access also ensures that ESG improvement action plans are implemented in a timely manner. For small businesses, costly ESG improvements are usually prioritized. ESG issues are specifically itemized for discussion. Access applies the concept of materiality when determining which ESG issues to address in its infrastructure portfolio. The materiality of ESG issues in the portfolio is assessed based on Access’ ESG materiality assessment framework, a sector-focused approach which enable the team to remain pragmatic and ensure that ESG efforts are aligned with what matters the most to the business and stakeholders.
This monitoring makes it possible to respond adequately to risks, problems and opportunities for improvement. Monitoring takes place at two main levels:
Supervisory / Corporate Governance Boards: Access participates in the supervisory / management boards of the underlying companies as a member or, where appropriate, through the status of censor. ESG vigilance points requiring the implementation of actions are raised by Access, in coordination with the lead investor, within the framework of these governance bodies. Participation in these bodies also allows Access to obtain regular information on ESG performance of the company / asset directly from the company's management. On-site visits may be made for high-risk investments by the Lead Investor and the Associate in Charge together with, where appropriate, specialist technical advisors.
Annual ESG Committee: Access has set up an annual monitoring committee dedicated to the ESG valuation of the portfolio at the time of submission of the annual report. This committee will aim to measure progress, as well as actions implemented over a period of 12 months. The ESG performance of each company / asset in the co-investment portfolio will be reviewed in detail on the basis of the annual questionnaire sent to the company in coordination with the main shareholder.